I’ve spent most of this week watching American television and movies. I leave the TV on all night long. I toss and turn with my bad back, and bad lungs, catch a rerun episode of Two and a Half Men, or CSI, and conk out again. Then I awaken to the U.S. morning talk shows. It’s a grueling regimen, only for the strong. Or the lonely. For periodic relief, I switch to Mexican television (be patient, I really am going somewhere with this). Mexican TV is not one iota better than US television, but is veeerrry heavy on the booty. More than heavy. Astronomical. Think all-but-bare tits and ass close-ups every fifteen seconds, straight through commercials, dramas, comedy shows, history shows, and even the news where possible. Every show but the bullfights and that old nun who comes on at ten PM, who invariably drives me back to the U.S. channels.
Ahhhh … Safely in the American national illusion, where all the world’s a shopping expedition. Or a terrorist threat. No matter, as long as it is colorful and wiggles on the theater state’s 400 million screens. Plug in and be lit up by the American Hologram.
This great loom of media images, and images of images, is so many layers deep that it has replaced reality. No one can remember the original imprint. If there was one. The hologram is a hermetic snow globe, a self-referential circuitry of images, and a Möbius loop from which there is no logical escape. Logic has zilch to do with what is going on. The smallest part holographically recapitulates the whole, and vice versa. No thinking required, we just cycle and recycle through an aural dimension. Not all that bad, I guess, if it were not generated by forces out to fuck every last pair of eyeballs and mind plugged into it.
The investing class has put thousands of billions into movies, TV and other media to keep the hologram lit up over the past six decades. Which is to say, keep the public in an entertained stupor, awed, mislead, and most importantly, distracted. But the payoff probably runs in the trillions.
See related (excerpted) story from the Miami Herald: “Haiti cruise stops: ‘Without this, we don’t eat’”
With the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship anchored just offshore this beautiful expanse of white sand Friday, vacationers stretched out on beach chairs in the sun, sipped cold beer and pina coladas with pineapple slices on the rim and listened to Haitian folk music.
The beach resort of Labadee is just 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Port-au-Prince, but it’s a world away from the devastation of the Haitian capital, where some 200,000 people are believed dead in an earthquake.
The cruise ships that stop here have become the center of a controversy: Should vacationers relax and have fun with so much suffering elsewhere on the island? Or would it be worse to halt the port calls and deprive locals of what they earn from tourism?
(A review of the new book entitled This Country Must Change: Essays on the Necessity of Revolution in the USA, edited by Craig Rosebraugh, Arissa Media Group, 2009)
From 1997 to 2001, Craig Rosebraugh acted as a public spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a self-described “international, underground movement consisting of autonomous groups of people who carry out direct action in defense of the planet.” On February 12, 2002, Rosebraugh was made to testify against his will before the US Congress’ House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. The FBI had recently declared the ELF the #1 domestic terrorist threat, and Congress had subpoenaed Rosebraugh demanding he help them investigate “eco-terrorism.” Rosebraugh had already received seven grand jury subpoenas from various federal investigations, but had always refused to cooperate. After he rejected this particular Subcommittee’s offer to voluntarily testify, they seemed to think that intimidation might help. They were wrong.
Rosebraugh invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 54 times that day, instead issuing his now-famous 11-page statement declaring that “the US government by far has been the most extreme terrorist organization in planetary history,” He cited a long list of crimes, beginning with the history of Black chattel slavery and the genocide of indigenous peoples, and concluding with a long list of US military interventions since WWII. He argued that it was hypocritical to label the ELF “terrorist,” since all ELF actions had been directed towards corporate property, and had never injured anyone: “This noble pursuit does not constitute terrorism, but rather seeks to abolish it.”
Rosebraugh has since continued his public advocacy of direct action and has edited a new book entitled This Country Must Change: Essays on the Necessity of Revolution in the USA. This collection of twelve essays, most written by current and former political prisoners, discusses the many problems with today’s corporate state and why the contributors believe a fundamental revolution is the only practical solution. Furthermore, Rosebraugh writes that “it is literally impossible to create fundamental political and social change by strictly adhering to only those methods approved by the government.”